New Productions

Richard Strauss
1864 - 1949
Opera in one act, with a scenic prelude
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
World premiere of 2nd edition: October 4th 1916, Royal Court Opera, Vienna
Sung in German with German surtitles

Duration: 2 3/4 hours with one interval

About the piece

Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera in an opera, an hermaphrodite in which tragedy, comedy, myth and irony becom ...
Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera in an opera, an hermaphrodite in which tragedy, comedy, myth and irony become blurred, in which the claims for equal rights for different art forms and their artists are upheld. Strauss/Hofmannsthal were a perfect example of fruitful collaboration between two artists from different fields. Ariadne auf Naxos was their third joint project. The world premiere (directed by Max Reinhardt) took place in 1912, with Ariadne auf Naxos following on from Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The combination of spoken theatre followed by opera and the complicated interweaving of the two stories was met with incomprehension by the audience. Composer and librettist took the obvious step: all the roles – except one – were through-composed and the story forming the framework was given its own prelude. The first performance of this (second) Ariadne auf Naxos two years later was a great success.


Zerbinetta and her buffo chums have been engaged to dance and sing after a performance of a tragic opera, Ariadne auf Naxos ...
Zerbinetta and her buffo chums have been engaged to dance and sing after a performance of a tragic opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. Preparations for the evening are in full flow when it is announced that both forms of entertainment will have to be performed at the same time so that they are over in time for a fire-work display to begin. They have no option but to quickly try and improvise – but it is not so easy – Zerbinetta's saucy game with her four lovers is worlds away from Ariadne, deserted by Theseus on the island of Naxos, falling in love with the young God Bacchus... The richest man in Vienna has commissioned a new opera. During preparations for the performance of Ariadne auf Naxos the music teacher receives word that a troupe of comedians have been engaged to jolly up the audience after opera. He complains that this would be extremely disrespectful to the serious nature of his pupil's new work. Zerbinetta, the dancing master and her buffo chums Harlekin, Scaramuccio, Truffaldin and Brighella are planning how to make the guests laugh again after the boring opera. Word now comes from the master of the house that both works must now be performed simultaneously so that the highlight of the evening, a firework display, can begin on time. This is too much for the composer. The dancing master tellls him that if he cannot shorten his score his work will not be performed at all. He need not worry about how the comedians will fit in: they are professionals. He begins to make cuts before his nightmare begins: Ariadne auf Naxos - a tragicomedy. Nymphs tell of Ariadne's sadness until the mourning woman herself sings about Theseus, forgetting, remembering, love and longing for death. The buffo troupe joins in from time to time, trying everything they can think of to cheer Ariadne up, to no avail. Bacchus' arrival is announced, he is delighted to have escaped Circe's clutches. When Bacchus becomes aware of his divinity and Ariadne of her ability to love again, Zerbinetta's credo proves well-founded: „when a new god approaches, we surrender without a word.“ The composer does not know what to think about this Ariadne auf Naxos. Before he can make up his mind he is dragged from his thoughts by the enthusiastic audience and ensemble.

Saturday 05.10.2013

Further performances:
10.10.2013  | 13.10.2013  |
18.10.2013  | 25.10.2013  |
01.11.2013  | 20.12.2013  |
26.12.2013  | 01.01.2014  |


Sebastian Weigle / Hartmut Keil
Brigitte Fassbaender
Set and Costume Design
Johannes Leiacker
Lighting Design
Joachim Klein
Mareike Wink

Primadonna / Ariadne
Camilla Nylund
Brenda Rae
Der Tenor / Bacchus
Michael König
Elizabeth Reiter
Katharina Magiera / Stine Marie Fischer
Maren Favela
Daniel Schmutzhard / Björn Bürger
Michael McCown
Alfred Reiter
Martin Mitterrutzner
Der Komponist
Claudia Mahnke
Ein Tanzmeister
Peter Marsh
Ein Musiklehrer
Franz Grundheber / Johannes Martin Kränzle
Ein Perückenmacher
Vuyani Mlinde
Ein Lakai
Kihwan Sim
Ein Haushofmeister
William Relton
Ein Offizier
Ricardo Iturra

Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt


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